Extreme cold causes problems for barges on Illinois River

By WEEK Producer

Extreme cold causes problems for barges on Illinois River

January 8, 2014 Updated Jan 8, 2014 at 12:13 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- The Army Corps of Engineers says the cold temperatures are creating significant challenges for barges moving up and down the Illinois River.

In order to keep river traffic flowing, the Corps of Engineers will begin running barges down the river in packs. This means the barges will be lined up with one line moving North and one line moving South. They said keeping the barges close together will keep the water from re-freezing and the ice from thickening between ships.

Corps members said ice buildup is also causing problems at the Peoria Lock and Dam.

Normally, the barges fit snug inside the locks. However, now barges are pushing ice ahead of them as they move into the locks. This creates problems closing the locks and slows down the process.

The Corps said ice buildup on the river is not a problem most winters. During a mild to normal winter, traffic on the river can move at a normal pace.

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